President, HRU Technical Resources
1. Who was your favourite teacher at school? What did you learn from that person?
Ruth Kemp, high school English teacher. She forced us to journal, and this was in the 1980s! So, each day we had to just write for 20 minutes a day. Write about anything, but you had to write even if you just copied text from a book or magazine. The cool part is she would read everything you wrote and respond with comments. So, even though I didn’t want to write, I loved her reactions to what I wrote! For me, it became a game to try and make her laugh or be shocked. She was smart and playful and always played along with my creativity. She taught me that I actually loved to write, I just didn’t know it. I ended up being her teacher’s aide for my junior and senior years. We would talk for hours about anything and everything.
She retired years ago, but when I wrote my book, The Talent Fix, I wanted to send her a copy because she was really the reason that it happened. I found out, through the school, that she was doing some volunteer work at the local airport assistance desk with some other senior citizens. I fly a lot, so I thought eventually I would run into her. One night on a last flight of the night coming into the airport at almost midnight, I finally ran into her on her very last day of volunteering ever. It had been 30 years since we had seen each other (she totally looked the same!). I walked up to the counter, and she asked me if she could help me. I said, “I’m Tim Sackett!” and she replied, “Of course you are!” We hugged and shared stories, and it brings tears to my eyes as I write this that I could see her one last time and let her know what a dramatic impact she had on my life.
2. At what age did you become an adult? What happened, and how did you know?
I don’t think my wife thinks I’m an adult yet! I tell people I was raised by all women. My Grandmother was the matriarch of our family. She had five daughters, my mother being the oldest. The first grandchild in our family was my sister. I was the second. My parents divorced when I was four, and my grandparents help raise me a lot, being that my Mom was a single parent working a ton launching her business that I currently run. My grandfather passed away when I was twelve. At his funeral, I was sitting between my Mom and my Grandmother. My Grandmother leans over during the service, puts her hand on my knee, and whispers into my ear, “You are the man of the family now.” I’m quite sure I wasn’t an adult at that moment, but it definitely shaped so much of my life moving forward! To this day, I still hold the title as the senior-most “blood” male of our family, and my 90-year-old Grandmother still expects me to be the man of the family.
3. What do you think is true that most people think is false? What do you think is false, that most people think is true?
I think if you fail a lot, you are more likely to keep failing. Our society tends to believe the opposite. Fail more! Fail faster! It’s all bullshit. I coached baseball, and if I had a kid strikeout one hundred times in a row, he was not going to hit the ball at 101! He would have lost all confidence, and he would be beaten down. Failing doesn’t lead to success, typically. Finding little successes, little wins, that add up over time, lead to success. So, I’m going to set this ball on a tee, and you hit from there. Then once you do well with that, I’m going to toss the ball underhand you hit that. Eventually, we’ll make it to where you can hit a ball being pitched at you. More failure leads to more failure in almost every case. Don’t believe the hustle porn! Find ways to be successful.
I think it’s false that you need to love her job. I love my wife. I love my kids. I love my dog. It’s okay if I don’t love my job. I can still be great at it. I can do it for the rest of my life and not love it, and still be successful. Love what really matters in your life. For some people, that might be your job, but I think for most, we use our job/work to allow us to do more of what we love outside of that work world.
4. When was the last time you changed your mind about something really important? What was it, and what led you to change your view?
I used to use slurs while believing I was joking, or that it wasn’t harmful. It’s just a word, and I didn’t mean that way, etc. “Oh, that’s “gay”!” for describing something I didn’t like or didn’t agree with. Until I had someone very close in my life come out as gay, and we discussed how this type of use made them feel less than. That it was a putdown. That I was basically saying, they were less by using words in that manner.
This really shook me to my core because this person, and so many of my gay friends who I care about and love deeply, I realized, finally, what I had allowed to happen from me and around me. I still struggle at calling out others when they use this type of language, but I’m working on it every day, so no other person has to go through that.
5. If you wrote a ‘user manual’ for how people should interact with you, what would be the most important point in the manual?
Because of my writing and speaking style, I have a tendency to trigger people. To be honest, I just like arguing the opposite side of certain things to prove how ludicrous we get sometimes in arguing certain convictions. The reality is, my user manual would have the top, in bold letters, “Always assume Tim has positive intent!”
I know I sometimes upset some folks, but it’s rarely my intent. I can’t think of a time in years where I went out trying to upset someone. I tend to want to help most people, not upset them. Some folks are just more easily triggered than others.
“Because of my writing and speaking style, I have a tendency to trigger people”